A major issue with flat ownership is the conflict of interests when it comes to building maintenance.
The freeholder (landlord) is responsible for providing the service, but has no responsibility for paying for it - that is passed on to the lessees. So for major items such as insurance cover, building upkeep and improvements, the freeholder has no incentive to shop around for price or quality.

The good news is that you have rights under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 and the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 to take action against an errant freeholder. You have three alternatives:

  • Dispute individual service charges and assessments.

  • Appoint a different manager.

  • Take over the management with the Right-To-Manage process.

Service charges for repairs, maintenance, improvements or insurance are required to be 'reasonable' Service charges can go up or down without any limit, but the landlord can only recover those costs which are reasonable. You have the right to challenge service charges that you feel are unreasonable at the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT).

Both landlords and leaseholders have a right to ask a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal whether a charge, or a proposed charge, is reasonable; however, there is no statutory definition of what is 'reasonable'. The Tribunal will consider the evidence presented and then make a determination on the matter.

An application may be made to the LVT whether or not the charge has already been paid. It can be in respect of costs already incurred for works, services or other charges, or in respect of an estimate or budget. However, if the charges have been agreed by the parties or finally determined by a court or tribunal, or by post-dispute arbitration, no application to an LVT can be made.

We can act on your behalf to dispute any service charges that you feel unreasonable. We naturally are unable to guarantee any application as being successful or for the amount of the eventual service charge reduction that may be determined by the Tribunal. You will be liable for the costs of preparation, LVT application and attendance of the Tribunal.

Under Section 24 Landlord and Tenant Act 1987, if you consider the management of your property by the landlord is unsatisfactory, and you are unable to exercise the right to manage and there is no other remedy available likely to achieve any improvement, you may apply to the LVT for the appointment of a manager.

Where the right to manage under the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 has already been exercised but the management is unsatisfactory, application may also be made for appointment of a manger, effectively terminating the right to manage.

Provided the LVT is satisfied that the case warrants such action, it may make an order to displace the landlord's control and management arrangements with a manager named by the LVT. This manager need not be a managing agent, but could be a lessee or other responsible person. The manager could delegate tasks to a managing agent, but ultimate responsibility remains with the manager appointed by the LVT.

An application must cover the whole, or part of, a building containing two or more flats. The application may be made by any one tenant or by a group of tenants acting together. We can act on your behalf to have a new manager appointed. You will be liable for the costs of preparation, LVT application and attendance of the Tribunal.

The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 is legislation which provides an opportunity for you to run your own affairs and to make your own decisions about the management and upkeep of their flats, including the insurance, repairs, service charges etc. by means of The Right To Manage (RTM).

The landlord's consent is not required and even where Landlord is absent you should be able to secure the management via RTM. There is no need to prove mismanagement by the landlord or the current managing agent to implement the right.

We can act on your behalf to form the RTM Company, serve the Invitation Notices and the Notice of Claim to put you (via the RTM Company)  in control of the management of the building at a relatively small cost. Please click here for further information.

Under most leases, there is condition for the freeholder to end or forfeit the lease before the expiry date.  Typically a landlord will start forfeiture proceedings via a solicitor when a leaseholder is not paying disputed charges. Technically you could lose your whole flat over a relatively small disputed amount.

However many landlords and solicitors are not aware of recent changes.  The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 contains changes to the forfeiture procedure. The freeholder must first prove before the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal that the Leaseholder is in arrears of ground rent or service charges or has breached a term of the lease before a notice of forfeiture can be served. This means that you have an opportunity to present your case first. Contact us for further details.


If for any reason your application is refused by a mistake on our part, we will fully refund our fees.

Throughout each stage of the process, we will keep you fully informed. Both by providing detailed descriptions of the process, but also on the progress of each stage. For your convenience, we will provide electronic copies of all documentation.

Call us today on
020 8629 1066 or click here for no-obligation advice on how to increase the value of your flat by resolving your management issues.

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